International News - Issue 174

AC Milan boss Massimiliano Allegri has told Mario Balotelli to stop being “a child” and start behaving like “a champion”. Balotelli lost his temper in Milan’s 2-1 loss to Napoli on Sunday, after missing the first penalty of his career, and was sent off after making “insulting and intimidating” remarks at the referee. - Full story via

Lionel Messi has denied any bad feeling between him and Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino, after he was substituted against Real Sociedad on Tuesday night. Martino hauled Messi 10 minutes from time for Sergi Roberto, and the 26-year-old Argentine star, who has 10 goals in eight matches for Barca this season, made his displeasure plain. - Full story via

Sunderland are on the hunt for a new manager after sacking Paolo Di Canio following a miserable start to the season. The club confirmed on Sunday evening that they had "parted company" with Di Canio but it is understood that Saturday's 3-0 loss, which saw the Italian face up to angry fans at the whistle, and a subsequent meeting forced Stadium of Light chiefs to act.   - Full Story via

Gus Poyet is in pole position to become the new Sunderland manager after holding talks over the role on Tuesday evening. Poyet, 45, has been out of work since his departure from Brighton over the summer, but has made no secret of his desire to manage in the Premier League. And after Roberto Di Matteo and Gianfranco Zola both backed out of the race, the Uruguayan has stepped forward as the Black Cats’ first choice. Poyet held ‘informal’ discussions with owner Ellis Short on Tuesday and expressed his desire to take charge of the side who are bottom of the Premier League table and badly lacking confidence. Steve McLaren, the former Middlesbrough boss, and ex-Stoke City manager Tony Pulis are outsiders for the role, but are expected to meet with Short before a decision is made.

Borussia Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski has ended speculation over his future by revealing that he will join Bayern Munich on a free transfer in 2014. With his contract set to expire at the end of the season, the Poland striker has revealed that the new year will see him agree a deal to join the Bavarians next summer.  - Full Story via

Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho has hinted at a return to former club Paris St-Germain during an emotional speech. The French international centre back joined Brendan Rodgers’ side in a £15million switch in the summer, making his debut in the 2-2 draw at Swansea last week. But the 23-year-old told PSG supporters he believes he has unfinished business at the Parc des Princes. During a goodbye speech ahead of PSG’s home game against Monaco, he told the crowd: “I’m very proud to come here tonight. I remember when I was young, I was up there, there in the stands and watched PSG play. My story with PSG isn’t over yet.” Sakho was at PSG for 11 years, making more than 150 appearances for the current French champions after coming through the youth ranks. - via

Leighton Baines’ says his Fantasy Football snub inspired his brilliant free-kick brace. The Everton defender netted twice from free-kicks as Everton came from behind to beat ten-man West Ham 3-2 at Upton Park. There are not many left-backs in the world to match Baines’ quality and, refreshingly, he’s good value in the post-match interview too, revealing his heroics were inspired by some banter with team-mate Leon Osman. Asked by Match of the Day’s interviewer how good it felt to pull off his set-piece brilliance, the England international replied: “It’s a great feeling to get that, especially to get us back into the position we were in the game. Ossie [Osman] had taken me out of his fantasy football team because I weren’t doing enough so I told him I’d score a couple. So, [I’m] true to my word.” - via

The Blues boss has explained why he left the Spain international out of the squad to face Fulham and was delighted with his side's 2-0 victory at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho says Juan Mata must learn to play how he wants, and become more consistent, if he is to regain his place in the first-team. - Full Story via 

Aston Villa have been rocked by the news that Christian Benteke faces six weeks on the sidelines with a hip injury. The Belgian striker, who has started the season in electric form, limped out of the 1-0 win over Norwich at the weekend, prompting fears he could miss months, rather than weeks. However, Villa boss Paul Lambert confirmed that although Benteke could be out for up to six weeks, the prognosis was better than first expected. “It is not as bad as we feared it was going to be,” said Lambert. “Maybe four, five, six weeks or so. Thankfully it is not too serious. It has got a lot better and he is feeling a lot better and the international break certainly helps us. Benteke faces missing league games against Manchester City (h), Hull (a), Tottenham (h), Everton (h) and West Ham (a), before hoping to return for Cardiff at home on November 9.

Arsenal will host Chelsea in the standout tie of the English League Cup fourth round after the draw was made on Wednesday. Arsenal needed penalties to beat West Bromwich Albion on Wednesday while Chelsea booked their place in the next round with a routine win over Swindon Town on Tuesday. Manchester United's prize for knocking out rivals Liverpool was a home tie against Norwich City. Tottenham Hotspur will play Hull City, Newcastle United face Manchester City and Sunderland host Southampton in the other all-Premier League ties. Second tier Birmingham City, who knocked out holders Swansea City, host another top-flight side in Stoke City, Leicester City host Fulham and Burnley welcome West Ham United. The Capital One Cup's fourth-round ties will be played in the week beginning October 28.
Draw (Premier League unless stated):
Sunderland v Southampton
Leicester City (II) v Fulham
Birmingham City (II) v Stoke City
Manchester United v Norwich City
Burnley (II) v West Ham United
Arsenal v Chelsea
Tottenham Hotspur v Hull City
Newcastle United v Manchester City

Liverpool want to land Xabi Alonso from Real Madrid in January after Brendan Rodgers was given the green light to re-sign the midfielder. It’s thought Madrid would be willing to accept around £3million in January to do business, instead of potentially losing him for nothing at the end of the current campaign. - Full Story via

Could we see Xabi Alonso back in Liverpool colours in January?